Last week I mentioned Connect2Media's Arachnadoodle [99¢] in a roundup with a few other games, and since then the game hasn't been getting anywhere near the amount of love it deserves, which is surprising considering the amount of people who go crazy whenever Peggle [$4.99] and/or Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor [$2.99] are mentioned.
In the game you play as Boris the spider whose goal in life is similar to that of all spiders: Making webs and collecting as many flies as possible. The game board consists of Peggle-like pegs, which all must be connected in order to make it through a level. By touching and dragging on the screen you control the speed and direction of Boris's jumps. As you pass by each pin, Boris connects a piece of his web to it and when every pin is covered in web a squadron of flies fly through accompanied by Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.
If you're only concerned about clearing each of the 32 levels included in the game, Arachnadoodle doesn't offer much play time. Where the immense amount of replay value comes in is from the strategy required for building a good web. You get bonus points for each of the flies that your web catches at the end of the level, and catching all the flies requires a web that has as many of the pins connected to each other as possible. (The overall strength of your web is determined by the web gauge on the top left corner of the screen.)
With a set number of jumps on each level, you need to carefully plan each of them to get as much web coverage as possible while still leaving one (or more) pegs un-webbed, since as soon as you connect to the last peg the level is over regardless of how many jumps you have left. Scores are tracked online via OpenFeint, and there are also a few achievements if you're looking to pad your OpenFeint gamer score.
To spice things up further, there are special obstacles on many of the levels such as bugs which explode when hit that destroy part of your web, pins that your spider can spin off of to change trajectory, bumpers that you bounce off of, and others. Arachnadoodle also just spews bonus points while you're playing, seemingly rewarding both lucky and well planned jumps. For instance, when you connect several pins, or connect two pins that are very far away the game goes in to slow-motion, text pops up telling you what you just did, and you get even more points. Tons of things reward bonus points, and it's fun randomly seeing yourself doing very well.
Everything in Arachnadoodle combines to create a ridiculously cute game, between your spider's googly eyes, animated text and sparkles everywhere, and Boris yelling "Yay!" every time you do well I doubt anyone can resist cracking a smile while playing. Sure there could be more levels in the game, but if Arachnadoodle sucks you in like I expect it will, you will be replaying your favorite levels trying to build a perfect web and getting on the OpenFeint scoreboards for quite some time.
Arachnadoodle is definitely a hidden gem on the App Store, combining many tried and true gameplay elements in to a very fun iPhone game that I highly recommend downloading.
Arachnadoodle: Arachnadoodle, 99¢